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Judge’s retirement stalls Saraki’s suit against EFCC

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THE approaching retirement of Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court in Abuja has stalled a suit filed by a former Senate President Bukola Saraki against the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

During the hearing of the case on Monday, counsel to Saraki, Kehinde Ogunwumiju, told the court that he had withdrawn an application filed for a stay of proceeding in another court.

Ogunwumiji also said he would withdraw another application filed at the Court of Appeal in Abuja slated for hearing on Monday.

After his statement, the presiding judge, Chikere, said there was no evidence that Saraki’s counsel had withdrawn the suit as he told the court.

She also said she could no longer hear the case because her retirement was due in two weeks.

According to Chikere, she could not hear and give judgement on the case in two weeks when she would be due for retirement.

The presiding judge asked that the Saraki vs EFCC case file be returned to the Chief Justice of Nigeria for reappointment.

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Saraki had filed the suit to stop EFCC from probing him over an allegation that he had already been charged up to the Supreme Court level.

Earlier in July, The ICIR reported that the EFCC arrested Saraki to answer undisclosed questions.

His arrest came two weeks after an investigation panel set up by the incumbent Kwara State Governor Abdul Rahman Abdul Rasaq recommended the prosecution of Saraki over mismanagement of public properties.

Chairman of the panel, Hussein Buhari, in his recommendation, said nothing short of diligent prosecution, possible jail terms and recovery of properties could avenge the official connivances that led to the pilferage of the State’s assets under Saraki and his predecessor, Mohammed Lawal.

According to the Committee, shares, bonds, and some other state government assets were sold by the state’s past government within five months of leaving office.

The EFCC and Saraki have been in legal disputes over allegations of corruption and misappropriation of public funds for many years.

In 2018, a federal high court sitting in Lagos ordered the forfeiture of a property belonging to Saraki over illegal acquisition. The property is located No. 17A McDonald Road, Ikoyi, Eti Osa Local Government Area of Lagos State.

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The order was granted following an application by the EFCC that Saraki acquired the properties through proceeds of unlawful activities.

The EFCC alleged that Saraki withdrew over N12 billion in cash from the Kwara State Government account, out of which some of the money was deposited into his domiciliary accounts in Access and Zenith banks through Abdul Adama, one of his assistants at different times

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